ANNABEL THE ACTRESS STARRING IN JUST A LITTLE EXTRA

Conford’s (Crush, 1999, etc.) wit twinkles in her delightful new chapter book that chronicles the return of Annabel, the aspiring actress who is about to get her “Big Break.” “I’ve been waiting to be discovered for years,” the ten-year-old tells the director of Day After Doom, a television movie that plans to use local citizens as extras. The movie is a scary thriller and Annabel, who desperately wants to be cast, spends the night practicing her “screaming, choking and fainting” so loudly and convincingly that she drives her father from the living room and gives herself a headache and a sore throat. On the big day, Annabel, along with her best friend Maggie and Maggie’s older brother, join the throngs of people waiting to be cast as well as those hoping to get a glimpse of actress Winona McCall, who is starring in the movie. When the high-spirited Annabel finds out that her acting job is not the sure thing she thought it was, she stages a scene of her own, winning for herself if not a speaking part, then at least a screaming one. Annabel is an appealing creation, sassy and sunny, and Conford gets plenty of comic juice out of her gung-ho off-center perspective. The book also has a good time poking gentle fun at the acting community—when the director asks Annabel if she’s eight, for example, Annabel tells him that she’s ten, but that she “dressed young.” Enhanced by Andriani’s charming black-and-white drawings, younger girls in search of a funny, fast-paced chapter book need look no further.(Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-81405-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more